By Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
Eight retired civil servants in Kaduna state have been arrested for allegedly organising prayers against Nasir el-Rufai, governor of the state. The workers claimed they were not paid their entitlements after they were disengaged by the Kaduna government.
Known as ‘Alqunuci,’ the Islamic prayer is said to be powerful and is invoked by those seeking justice.
Emmanuel Dogo, leader of Kaduna state Retired Workers Forum, alleged that, El-Rufai ordered the arrest of his retired colleagues. Dogo said the retirees resorted to the prayer because they could no longer cater for their families.
“All efforts to make the government pay our entitlements had proved abortive; so, what we do is to pray for God’s intervention,” he said. “It is because of these prayers that the governor ordered for the arrest of eight of our members in Zaria. Yesterday (Thursday), they were asked to report to Kaduna state police command.
“They were later taken to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and were detained. We have been to the state CID, trying to find out what’s their offence but they told us that they will be charged to court.”
When contacted, chairperson of Kaduna State Disengaged Women Teachers Forum, Alice Ayuba, said both Muslims and Christians, who were sacked and not paid, constituted prayer groups.
Ayuba said they have been praying for God’s intervention. “Retired workers used to hold prayer programmes and, according to what I heard, in Zaria, where our Muslim brothers were praying, the governor ordered for their arrest because they said the Muslim prayers is called ‘Alqunuci,’” she said.
“I am not a Muslim, but I am told that very powerful prayers are usually offered there. Like me that I am talking to you, I served the government for 16 years. I was sacked without being given anything. I am the chairperson of Disengaged Women Teachers Forum, Kaduna state, while those, who were arrested, belong to the Kaduna state Retired Workers Forum.
“But we work hand-in-hand because we are pursuing the same goal. Since there is nobody to fight for us, we resorted to tell God our complaints, because we believe that only God can fight this injustice for us, since the governor is very powerful and nobody can face him. So, we have handed everything to God; that is what led to this kind of prayers.”
Efforts to get the reaction of Yakubu Sabo, spokesman of the Kaduna state Police Command, and spokesman of Governor el-Rufai, Samuel Aruwan, did not yield the desired results.